Q. I have been taking lisinopril for seven months to control my high blood pressure. Soon I developed a hacking cough. When it wouldn’t go away I saw an ear, nose and throat specialist. He shrugged and said this comes with age.
When I complained to my regular doctor he gave me a course of antibiotics, but there was no relief. I called back and was given a different antibiotic prescription.
Eventually, my wife mentioned my cough to the pharmacist who pointed out this is a common complaint with lisinopril. When we brought this to my doctor’s attention, he agreed and finally took me off the drug. How could this happen?
A. Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor. Like other blood pressure drugs in this class (Accupril, Altace, benazepril, captopril, enalapril, ramipril and quinapril), lisinopril can cause cough as an unpleasant and common complication. This kind of hacking cough won’t go away with cough medicine.
We are shocked that neither your lung specialist nor your regular doctor figured this out. Antibiotics are inappropriate for this kind of drug-induced cough.
There are other medications to control blood pressure. ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) such as Avapro, Benicar, Cozaar and Diovan are less likely to cause a chronic cough. For more information about pros and cons of hypertension medications and non-drug ways to lower blood pressure we are sending you our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment.